Totally not right

Hopefully, we all have visions of a brighter future and then there is the harsh reality…

In his own words, John Biggs tells us how it suddenly stuck him of how irrelevant it was to ask students to tell, in a final exam, of how he had told them about how psychology could be applied into teaching. Instead, he asked the students (in accordance to the intended learning outcome) to do a portfolio in where they themselves described how they knew psychology could be applied to improve their teaching decisions. Biggs describes this event as one of his peak regarding to teacher ratings and luckily for us the constructive alignment was born. Constructive alignment is a concept of how to use outcome-based education (Biggs & Tang, 2011). It all starts with the intended learning outcome and in my case, in this particular course, it is:

“To administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe”.

The active verb is to administer and handle and that is what my students are intended to learn. According to, my institutions own educational platform (MAH, 2016), all teaching and assessment are supposed to harmonize with each other as well as to the intended learning outcome. The students are expected to participate in an active way and the design of the course should be in accordance with this alignment.

So, I have a dilemma – what I am doing now is totally not right.

The ultimate assessment to administer and handle should be something practical. As I see it the student should be tested in how they administer and handle instead they are asked to answer a web-based multiple choice quiz about how they are supposed to administer and handle. I tried to think about this when I constructed the questions. Most of them are about how different skills in action can avoid or prevent complications…but still, now actually action only words about it. As you see, the reality isn´t always inline with the intentions. But I think I have a good position for negotiation with my employer.

Biggs, J. B. & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for quality learning at university. (Fourth edition). Maidenhead, Open University Press.

MAH, Pedagogisk plattform för institutionen för vårdvetenskap (2016) Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle, Malmö högskola. (In Swedish)

Photo:Wrong by Kerry Lannart (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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